Medgar Evers mourns death of community activist

Medgar Evers mourns death of community activist
Medgar Evers College

The predominantly Black Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, which boasts a high percentage of Caribbean students, is mourning the passing of Dominican-born community activist Agnes M. Abraham.

Abraham, a former student of the school, died on Dec. 22. She was 56. No reason was given for her death.

The college said in a statement on Wednesday that Abraham, a “longtime community leader,” died at her Brooklyn home. “Ms. Abraham was not only a friend to those who knew her but was a fierce and dynamic advocate for many she never met,” said the statement, stating that Abraham served as chairperson of the Council of Community Advisory Boards of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), now NYC Health and Hospitals, the largest public healthcare system in the United States.

She was also chairperson of the Community Advisory Board (CAB) at the sprawling Kings County Hospital Center in Central Brooklyn. CABs are the public’s direct connection to the planning, program development and service delivery at HHC facilities around the New York City, the college said.

Before graduating from Medgar Evers College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration, Abraham served for three years on the Student Government Association (SGA): Two-terms as SGA president (2002-2004) and one-year as Senior Class President (2004-2005).

“As a student-representative in the SGA, she was a change agent that worked tirelessly to support the growth of the institution,” the college said.

Additionally, Abraham served as the chairperson of the University Student Senate and, by virtue of this role, sat on the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Board of Trustees as an ex-officio student trustee.

“As an alumna, Ms. Abraham’s commitment to her alma mater, community and the university remained steadfast,” said Medgar Evers College, adding that she “served with distinction as Parliamentarian to the Community Council, an organization that provides support to the administration and development of Medgar Evers College and its activities.

“She was a valuable asset to the Council because of her extensive knowledge of Roberts Rules of Order and collaborative spirit in applying its principles,” the statement said.

Abraham, who was born on March 24, 1959, also served briefly on Medgar Evers College’s Scholarship and Grants Committee that has funded over US$200,000 in scholarships to deserving students based on academic excellence and financial need.

Through her service on the Council, the college said she championed the needs of the community, “with great energy and enthusiasm.”

At CUNY, Medgar Evers said Abraham was coordinator of Campus-based Leadership Education and Advocacy Programs for the Ernesto Malavé Leadership Academy.

She assisted in the program development and administration of the CUNY Ambassador Program, including the CUNY Alumni Legislator Project, and other Malavé advocacy projects.

Most recently, Abraham was the community affairs director in the Division of Corporate Planning, Intergovernmental Relations and Community Services for NYC Health and Hospitals.

Earlier in her career, she was supervisor of the Mediation Program, later renamed Resolution Assistance Program, at the New York State Housing Court in New York City. There, she assisted tenants and landlords navigate the Housing Court system.

Medgar Evers College said faculty, staff and students will join family, friends and the community in celebrating Abraham’s life, legacy and memory at a funeral service on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, at 6:30 pm, at Beulah Church of the Nazarene, 1250 St. John’s Place (near Troy Avenue) in Brooklyn.

Located in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, Medgar Evers College, named after civil rights activist Medgar Evers, of the 1950-60’s era, said it is a “growing institution,” offering both Associate and Baccalaureate degrees.

The nearly 7,000-member student body primarily comprises those who are the first in their families to attend college.

A senior college within the CUNY system, Medgar Evers College was established in 1970 with a mandate to meet the educational and social needs of the Central Brooklyn community, the statement said.

“With a commitment to students who desire a sound academic foundation, as well as an opportunity for personal development, Medgar Evers College seeks to provide high-quality, professional, career-oriented undergraduate degree programs in the context of a liberal arts education,” the statement said.